First Love
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First Love
(Revelation 2.1-2a)
Page 32

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write, 'These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.'" (Revelation 2.1-2a)


Ancient EphesusThe letter to Ephesus was written to "the angel" or alternatively "the messenger" of the church there. Ephesus was a large Greek city in ancient times on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present day Selcuk in Turkey, and had a population of about a quarter of a million people. It was built in the 10th century BC on the ruins of the earlier settlement of Apasa, a bronze age city recorded in 14th century BC Hittite sources. Ephesus became the capital of Asia Minor and an important center of land and sea trade. Along with Alexandria and Antioch in Syria, it was one of the three most influential cities in the eastern part of the Roman empire and the place where the Gospel of John was probably written.

Goddess Artemis

Artemis IdolThe other six churches beside Ephesus to which letters were sent were situated roughly in an arc radiating from Ephesus. The magnificent temple in Ephesus was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, and described as "Ephesus' first love" and one of the ancient wonders of the world. It was also a major center for the manufacture of images of its goddess, Artemis. Ephesus was near the Temple of Artemis which was completed about 550 BC and described as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the third oldest city. The only one of the Seven Wonders still standing today is the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt. John of Patmos spent a great deal of his ministry in Ephesus and knew its shortcomings all too well. He knew personally that their first love was not Jesus but the pagan godess Artemis!

"First Love"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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